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64 bit swift not working with NVDA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:22 am
by mikebayus
I just recently found and installed Amy version 5.2 64 bit on my new windows 7 computer. Elswhere in these forums I posted a thread about why I like Amy, how I use her, and how happy I was to have her back. My post was entitled "How Amy helps." I was so pleased to have her back, and to have her reading to me again. Problem is, she can't read any more than about 275 words before she crashes my screen reader. In my line of work, and because I am totally blind, Amy is required to read very long documents. The document that I, or rather Amy, was reading when it first happened is an 8 page document of some 5200 words. I was using a standard word processor and the document is a RTF formatteddocument. After about 275 words or so, NVDA exited, restarted, and then all speech went away until I restarted my computer, and relaunched NVDA. That can't happen. I am not a programer, and I am assuming that it is the Swift engine and not specifically the Amy voice that does this. I don't have the time nor the inclination to test every voice to see if this always happens. I bring this up in this venue, only because NVDA is becoming one of the most widely used screen reeaders used by the blind in the world. NVDA is free, and does everything that Jaws, Window-Eyes, Hal and all of the other screen readers that are out ther do, and at no cost to boot. I think, that this issue should be given some attention, because of the blind community and our use of Cepstral voices. As much as I hate to admit it, maybe it's time to retire Amy. I'll be sad to see her go.

Re: 64 bit swift not working with NVDA: issue resolved

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:25 pm
by mikebayus
First of all, I said NVDA crashed. It did not. It reinicialized. Why do I think this? Because I had my NVDA set to default to another voice other than Amy. As Amy read text, and when she got to about 270 words, the launch sound was played, and the default voice came up, and I was able to pick up in the document where I left off. When NVDA's default was Amy, the voice did not reload, and speech went away.
For those who may not know:
A screen reader is a memory resident program that uses a text to speech synthesizer to relay information about what is appearing on the screen. Currently, most Windows screen readers use system hooks to gain access to keyboard input and menu and dialog box messages. It will call the Windows API to determine some information about the current status. It monitors some API functions to catch changes to the cursor, focus, and other elements on the screen. Finally, it creates an off-screen model that contains information about each point on the screen (e.g. character, font, font size, class, etc.). The user can then use a keystroke to access this information when he or she wants to find out about an element on the screen (e.g. the current title in the title bar).
I was told (not by Cepstral, but by someone else) that if I wanted a 64 bit Cepstral voice, I had to install the 32 bit one first. I guess that's not so. Thinking that was the reason for the NVDA issue, I endeavored to uninstall the 32 bit Amy as completely and as cleanly as I could.
When I was done, I found that my NVDA was broken, and would not launch. I then Got a free Demo of the Jaws screen reader so I could have speech, and then try to go and install NVDA again. I got an install failed message, and I found that I could not install it no matter what I did.
I then thought of trying to reinstall the 32 bit version of Amy and then trying to install NVDA again to see if I could. BINGO! NVDA successfully installed, and I can now use Amy as my default again. Now, as of this posting, NVDA is running stabley and cleanly. Apart from the usual lag, Amy is running fine.
Now that NVDA was reinstalled, I thought that I would try oninstalling 32 bit Amy and reinstalling 64 bit Amy. When I uninstalled and restarted my computer, I found that My NVDA was broken again and would not launch. I reinstalled. I then thought I would try installing the 64 bit amy just like I did before, the difference being that my NVDA appeared to be more stable, and, I think, it is running "piggieback" on top of Amy. When I brought up the 64 bit installer, I got a worning message telling me that I needed something called a managing monitoring tool, and I should go to my add and remove programs menu and install it or the installer wouldn't work.
I guess I should quit while I'm ahead.
I might as well confess to you all now I have another favorite voice from a company called CereProc named Heather. CereProc has been as good to me as Cepstral has, and I have been working with them and testing some of their voices. I guess Amy got even. Now the best screen reader in the world, is dependant upon Amy to work for me, unless I am willing to pay big bucks for a commercial one.
I am pleased to have Amy working for me and with me again, and I hope to be able to keep in touch and work with Cepstral.
If there is anything I can do for you, just let me know.
Keep on keeping on.

Re: 64 bit swift not working with NVDA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:56 pm
by mikebayus
Well, I didn't quit while I was ahead and it was a good thing too! I discovered that I had a windows restoration point that would restore my PC to how it was back before the bad happened. That is, before I installed Amy 32 bit the first time. I restored back to that point and installed the 64 bit version instead. I didn't get the managing monitoring tool message, after all because I guess I had one. I guess that it either got deleted, or became corrupted. Now I am good to go.

Re: 64 bit swift not working with NVDA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:13 am
by ChrisM
Hi Mike,

Glad to hear you got this working. This issue continues to be a thorn in our side as it seems to creep on some versions of Windows and not others, and even then inconsistently. Unfortunately, Microsoft is not very forthcoming on this issue, so we urge any others who run into this issue to contact us and Microsoft support and relay any information. We would love to put a fix out for this once the cause of the issue has been pinned down. Thanks for your help!

Amy didn't do it!

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:21 am
by mikebayus
Well she's back! and working perfectly. I just got an update of NVDA and I found this entry in the bug fixes log:
•NVDA will no longer fail to start when the user's profile path contains certain multibyte characters. (
I guess my user's profile path contains certain multibyte characters. I am not a programer, and I don't know what a multibyte character is, but I think that is the hart of the matter when it comes to installing the 64 bit swift engine on some windows machines. It seemes if you have them in your registry, swift installs, and if you don't, it won't. Maybe something to look for.
It doesn't exxplain the issue about not being able to install other Cepstral voices on my computer. At one time, I had the Calie voice, so I wanted to find out if my product key would work with her as well as Amy. I downloaded the 64 bit installer and ran it. All that happened is that it just uninstalled Amy and terminated. It was a clean uninstall so I just left it alone and went back to using the other voices on my computer. But when I got this latest update for NVDA, I thought I would try Amy again, and see if she wasn't more stable. She is! I won't try installing Calie again though.
Let's see what happens now.
T'is still a puzzlement. Swift likes those multibyte characters and NVDA doesn't. Or, didn't use to anyway.

Re: 64 bit swift not working with NVDA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:09 pm
by ChrisM
I am glad to hear you got everything working. You'll be happy to hear that your timing is perfect as you will find a new version of Amy coming out sooner than you may think!

Re: 64 bit swift not working with NVDA

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 3:43 pm
by mikebayus
Here's an update. I am now running NVDA version 2014.2, and while I can make her crash NVDA by increasing the rate, or the pitch too fast, NVDA now recovers and loads the default voice. If the default voice is Amy she comes up again and I can pick up reading where I left off. Amy can now read long documents again using NVDA, and all is well. Or at least, I haven't come across a document that is too long for Amy. The longest document I have had Amy read, took her two and one half hours, and she got all the way through it without stopping.